One sweet aspect of childhood, very much taken for granted by those enjoying it, is that your best friend often is that child of similar age who just happens to live on your block—the first person you bumped into around your third birthday, when you were first becoming aware of the outer world beyond your home. For me, that friend was Beezer. On weekdays, when my older brothers were all at school, he became my constant companion.
His people lived across the road on Connington Street, in the London, Ontario neighbourhood known as “Old South.” We’d get our adventures underway by about nine o’clock, when one of us would run over to the other’s house just as breakfast was being finished up, and called out from the street. I guess we thought that only adults were qualified to knock or ring doorbells.
(This was shortly after the Second World War, when children roamed about in this sort of way. These days, “play dates” are carefully arranged by parents over the phone, and a small child seen running down the street on his own attracts police attention—and perhaps even a visit from family services.)